When military minister James Heappey thinks of a 20-year war in Afghanistan, he thinks of a kite flying overhead in Kabul.
“When the Taliban were deprived of power, kite flying was an immediate expression of a kind of rebellion,” Hepee, a former rifle officer who took two tours in Afghanistan, told The Telegraph.
“It was great when we were in that early Kabul. It was a visible expression of those who rediscovered the freedom deprived of them.”
When all 10,000 NATO troops, including 750 British soldiers, leave Afghanistan on September 11, Heapey claims this freedom.
“The Taliban understand that the world and Afghanistan are moving forward and cannot return as if time had stopped in 2001, but will resume where they left off,” Hepee said.
There is no illusion that Afghanistan has become “a kind of liberal democracy” in the last two decades, but he said that people have been given the ability to “live the life of your choice.”
He states: “I had the opportunity to educate your girl. I had the opportunity for women to play a role in society beyond that of mothers and wives. Other than extreme power, I don’t know how it will be washed away. “
Hepee warned that the international community would not “backtrack” if the Taliban returned to such a tactic.
“I think there must be a political solution,” he said. “I think the Taliban know that.”
Since the military entered the country in 2001 to find al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, 2,300 US military personnel and women have been killed and more than 450 British soldiers have been killed. All of those who have suffered life-changing injuries.
While more than 60,000 members of Afghan security forces have been killed, nearly twice as many civilians have died in the “eternal war.”
Last week, U.S. President Joe Biden announced a new date for all troops to leave Afghanistan, in contrast to May 1, the original date agreed between former Presidents Donald Trump and the Taliban. Announced that it will be the 11th of March.
Biden said: “We went to Afghanistan because of the horrific attack that happened 20 years ago, so we can’t explain why we should stay there in 2021.”
However, many have expressed concern that the complete withdrawal of foreign troops could lead to a civil war on the ground, and former Defense Minister Tobias Ellwood told The Telegraph, “We threw a towel.” It was.
“Leaving Afghanistan in this way after making many sacrifices would encourage British veterans and the wider public to ask, what was it for?”
Elwood added, “We are now in a very realistic outlook for the civil war and for agents, including Russia, Pakistan, India and China, to pursue their own agenda and radicalism to refill the power vacuum. I’m facing it, “he added.
Hepee argued that the withdrawal of the military did not mean that the West was turning its back on Afghanistan.
“I think the most obvious situation of return is when we have come to the point where there is clear evidence of international terrorism that threatens our homeland, our homeland of the United States, or others.”
He warned that such a return would not necessarily be comparable to boots on the ground.
“I think it’s more likely that there’s a fair amount of firepower that can be fired from the outside, and that threat remains,” he added.
“The Taliban do not believe that the end of their military presence in Afghanistan will be free to act as they wish.”
Hepee said it would benefit the Taliban as much as the international community if it adhered to its “international diplomatic expectations.”
“There is an economic reality they want,” he said. “They want Afghanistan to be able to function as a nation, the economy cannot collapse, and international donations cannot be stopped.
“And that brings some expectations about behavior, and if they ignore both of them, there is still the reality that they have the ability to hit them remotely and really hard. If that is necessary. “
Looking back on questions from many, Hepee recalled a “crap tour” with a rifle in 2009 to the town of Sangin, Helmand. Thirty-five soldiers were killed and more than 200 were injured there.
“It was terrible, but because we were there, the market was busier than it wouldn’t, the schools were open, elections were held during the summer we were there, and the passage of time. Cumulatively with, we have given the Afghan government space to establish and strengthen itself. “
And, of course, the family was once again able to take the children to the tomb of the King of Kabul. Kabul is a notable place for kites to fly on Friday afternoon, allowing them to engage in entertainment that has long been denied by them.
“People will not remember that they couldn’t fly a kite after 20 years of fast-forwarding. It’s a fairly simple or trivial example, but it reflects the progress of Afghan society.”